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UK Teenagers Explore Terrorism Game

Published: 12/05/2013 04:18:27 PM GMT
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LONDON - Highlighting the global impact of terrorism, a youth arts troupe has embarked on producing a stage drama to explore global politics and connections with the deadly game of terrorism. I wanted to produce something (more)

LONDON - Highlighting the global impact of terrorism, a youth arts troupe has embarked on producing a stage drama to explore global politics and connections with the deadly game of terrorism.

"I wanted to produce something around the 7/7 bombings and the impact it's had on a local scale," Canan Salih, director of Nemesis, told the BBC News Online on Sunday, May 12.Produced by the 'A' Team Arts, a youth arts service for 13-19 year olds from the east London borough of Tower Hamlets, the play, called Namesis, reflects the deadly game of terrorism between five world powers; Iraq, Israel, Pakistan, the UK and the US.

Gitmo Horrors on London Theater

The opening scene shows characters in the infamous orange jumpsuits of Guantanamo Bay.

Tackling a challenging subject, the play shows how the decisions taken by each of those countries cause far-reaching consequences around the globe.

Nemesis also looks at the experiences of terrorism in Northern Ireland, Uganda and the UK.

To portray this global-local connection and impact the play draws inspiration from other plays such as Decade by Headlong Theatre and Talking to Terrorists by theatre company Out of Joint.

Taking a cue from Talking to Terrorists, the production team engaged the theater style of using authentic, verbatim interviews as dialogue for the play.

"We then thought to look at the actual victims of 7/7, totally conscious of its sensitivity," said Salih.

"I read through most of the transcripts of the victims from the July 7 Inquiry and they left a strong impression."

Though most of the play team have no memory of 7/7 bombings and limited knowledge of global politics since 9/11, the play presented a challenge to portray the truth.

"We felt it was important to look into authorship and how we vocalize the truth," said producer Kazi Ruksana.

This is not the first time in the British theater to tackle these challenging themes.

Last year, a London theater opened a new play focusing on the US detention camp and its impact on the lives of many.

The play, Guantanamo Boy, looked at the detention camp through the eyes of a British Muslim teenager who is detained during a family visit to Pakistan over suspicion of being a terrorist.


The play makers faced a real challenge to personify the five countries, both as they saw themselves and as the world saw them.

"The script says that the cast are teenagers and they squabble and score points off each other as teenagers do,” Tower Hamlets' youth arts manager Geraldine Bone said.

"But doing that within the context of being a world power relating to other world powers, I thought was particularly difficult."

Cast member Aklima Begum agrees.

"It was hard at first to understand how we could portray the victims of 7/7," Begum said.

"Playing 'Iraq,' I didn't know much about it before. But I feel this play has raised more awareness of the issues, both amongst us and the audience."

The play also faced a challenge in showing effects of stereotypes from all sides.

"I played a Muslim grocery store owner abused after 7/7, a British Muslim boy rejoicing after 9/11 and an interrogator," said 15-year-old Neyaz Ismail.

"It was a real challenge to get the emotions right and remembering my lines. But I learnt a lot about the stereotypes that all sides can have."

Britain's 2.7 million Muslims have taken full brunt of anti-terror laws since the 7/7 attacks.

Police data shows that 1,200 anti-Muslim attacks were reported in Britain in 2010.

A Financial Times opinion poll showed that Britain is the most suspicious nation about Muslims.A poll of the Evening Standard found that a sizable section of London residents harbor negative opinions about Muslims.

Reproduced with permission from